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Floating to good health

By Brigid Delay (CNN) Project Life

Floatation tanks have long been rubbished as a New Age gimmick, where essentially you pay a large amount of cash to float in a dark room in a bath full of salts. But floatation tanks are entering the mainstream.

Day spa and floatation center, Float, has just opened in, Notting Hill and is doing well with regular clients and a sprinkling of celeb floaters. Floatation tanks are used not only to assist in relaxation but to treat injuries and overcome a range of ailments from jet lag to depression.

You are weightless in a tank, so any pressure on your body resulting from weight bearing is removed. Some people may find in a float their blood pressure drops, and their heart rate is lowered.

Circulation can be improved and aches and pains soothed. Many people use a float to wind down or to get over jet-lag — as a deeply relaxing float has much in common with a deep sleep.

Some floaters, such as Sullivan say being in the tank inspires great ideas and creative thinking. It was in a floatation tank that she got the idea to open the Notting Hill center. She says, “Restricting your environmental stimulus triggers a relaxation response in the brain — your brain waves changes.

Athletic Performance/Sports Rehabilitation

Sports Medicine article, The Australian Doctor

Athletes use floating to enhance their performance and speed their recovery from injuries. It keeps them “on top of their game”. After years of mediocrity, the Philadelphia Eagles acquired a tank, and then went on to win the NFC championship in 1980.

The Philadelphia Phillies noticed the tank, and many of these players began floating too. This team went on to win its first world series in decades in 1980.

Other famous floating athletes include Carl Lewis, who used in-tank visualization techniques to prepare himself for his gold medal long jump at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, 1998 Ironman champion Peter Reid, the Dallas Cowboys, the US 2000 Olympic team, and the Australian 2000 Olympic team.

“The AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) psychologists use float tanks for three main purposes: recuperation and rejuvenation, injury rehabilitation and neuro-muscular programming.”